For three days in June, twenty-five Governor's teachers attended the "Project Based Learning Works" workshop on campus. Project Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge. PBL prepares students for academic, personal, and career success, and readies young people to rise to the challenges of their lives and the world they will inherit.
The three-day workshop was led by Brookwood School (Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA) Director of Innovation and science teacher Rich Lehrer. Lehrer, an expert in PBL methodology, is a sought after public speaker and teacher on the subject.
Academic Dean & Assistant Head of School Elaine White P'16, '21 says, "This is one type of methodology that we believe is helpful in the classroom because it focuses on inspiring students by engaging them in authentic learning opportunities that build skills and, ideally, impact the lives of others within our community or beyond. It is not the only type of methodology we use in the classroom and we are not becoming a PBL school; it is just one type in a very flexible bag of methodologies so that we can be the best teachers possible for our students."
For three full days, teachers were hard at work learning and applying this methodology. Each teacher created a unit that they can use in the first three months of the 2019-2020 school year. In creating a classroom project, Governor's teachers experienced the process themselves that they will teach in their classes. The workshop included learning content from Lehrer, individually crafting ideas for projects, pitching those ideas to colleagues, responding to peer critique, refining projects, and crafting assessments and rubrics.
English teacher Lynda Fitzgerald P'93, '00 said, "This was a very practical and well organized workshop that emphasized the need for students to engage in experiential learning which definitely connects to our Seven Essential Skills. My project focused on Hamlet and The Catcher in the Rye and I plan to implement it in my classes this fall. I am grateful to have had this opportunity for new learning."